Air conditioning powered by self-consumed PV


From pv magazine France

In 2020, the Gaïa group, a solar specialist based in the French overseas department of Reunion, deployed a 36 kWp solar PV plant on the roof of the Saint-Leu school, under the island's net metering scheme. 

The Reunion-based company also installed an air conditioning system with a cooling capacity of 72 kW, employing French energy efficiency specialist Sirea's expertise for the system's energy management and optimization.

Sirea provided its SmartEMS technology to control the air conditioning, based on the available photovoltaic energy. “We needed an energy manager compatible with the installation's different equipment, and which is flexible enough to offer tailor-made management as close as possible to the needs of the school,” said Étienne Bernard, director of operation at Gaïa Photovoltaic.

The control system managed by Sirea PLC and installed by the Gaïa team is based on four real-time measurement points: photovoltaic production, withdrawal and injection into the distribution network, consumption of cooling units, and building consumption.

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The SmartEMS can both perform these operations, and control the setpoint temperatures of the indoor air conditioning units. According to the manufacturer, this intelligent device allows the user to manually start or turn off each of the 12 indoor air conditioning units, and to act on a set temperature range of between 24°C and 26°C. Thus, in the event of a photovoltaic deficit, the controller acts on the setpoint temperature. It also issues an order to turn off all air conditioning at 8:00 p.m.

It is claimed that the self-consumption controlled by this SmartEMS makes it possible to greatly reduce the electricity consumption taken from the network while providing controlled flexibility. In addition, due to its geographical location, this project takes advantage of a strong photovoltaic potential between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., year round, thus overlapping with the air conditioning needs of users.

Overall, the project developers believe that controlling air conditioning is a wise choice that allows the Saint-Leu school to set an example in terms of energy efficiency. 

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